Posts Tagged 'clothes'

Denim for Dinner?!

true_religion_jeansRecently I had a sojourn to the Lake District with my family and we stayed in the same small, hotel we have stayed in for the last twelve years when we visit our relatives in the north of the region. One of my favourite things about this hotel is the excellent food they never fail to serve.

On our first night at dinner, I was shocked – no, mortified – to discover that fifteen out of the nineteen diners were wearing jeans. Jeans! Denim! I should at this juncture state that the restaurant itself is quite formal (it’s not a Harvester). Only at this point did I realise that my brother was also wearing jeans (smart jeans – not ones with rips and holes in, but jeans nonetheless). My family quickly told me to calm down and stop being such a stick in the mud.

But this is why I was shocked: when we first stayed at said hotel, the gentlemen wore jackets and ties, whilst the women wore dresses. You were looked upon in horror if you wore jeans (or dared not wear a jacket – although no rule was enforced). Now, ten years later, there has transparently been a seismic shift in standards. I should state here and now that I rolled up on the first night (going by previous experiences) with a jacket, tie and corduroy trousers. People looked at me. They stared.

When sitting in the hotel lounge afterwards I heard a young-ish girl refer to me to her father as ‘that odd boy with the tie’. Well. That’s the thanks one gets for upholding standards.

Society does change, I accept that, but what shocked me is the speed in which, in this particular instance, it has done so. My fear is that we as a nation are too lazy to make the effort for anything anymore. The chef has made an effort to produce top-notch food, so why should we be so arrogant as to wear the same clothes we were wearing all day to eat it?

Moan over. But for the record, for the next two nights we were there, I made sure I wore a jacket, tie and smart trousers. And if I had had my dinner jacket to hand, I’d have worn that: just to make my point.

William Hanson
Tutor, The English Manner

The Championships, Wimbledon

Nadal in green.

Nadal in green.

Also known as ‘The Championships’, Wimbledon is arguably the most prestigious tennis event in the world and has been held in the London suburb of Wimbledon since 1877. Unlike most professional tennis competitions, it is held on grass courts.

This year the two-week event starts on the 22nd June and is one of the only sporting tournaments to enforce a strict dress code on players. In the past, convention had dictated that white was the order of the fortnight and it was strictly enforced, however there are some hints of colour (notably in stripes) creeping back into the kits. When current champion Rafael Nadal first played the competition in 2005 he was famous for tight fitting colourful tops, but Wimbledon regulators suggested that he switch to white equivalents instead. Players’ clothing designs have to be submitted months in advance to get officials’ approval.

Although there are no hard-and-fast rules for spectators (they need not wear all white) it is generally acknowledged that Wimbledon is an ‘occasion’ and should be treated like such and so smarter dress is worn. This said, it is the beginning of summer and so one can see a lot of loose-fitting materials, cottons and linen being sported in the stands.

For first-timers, it is important to know that you cannot leave or take your seats whilst a game is in play (a game consists of anything from five to seven). Wardens control the spectator entrances and exits and sometimes you can wait anything up to fifteen minutes before the game is completed.

This year, we find a Briton in the top 8 tennis player rankings (Andy Murray), to which we offer him our congratulations, however, despite this rare glimmer if British sporting success, we would suggest that spectators do not make a song and dance about this: flag waving and nice cheering (not during actual, play, mind you) is preferred – there’s no need to go overboard.

An umbrella, although cumbersome, is always a smart move as it wouldn’t be Wimbledon without rain.

If you are in a tennis apparel quandary and would like advice or help, please contact us through our website. (www.theenglishmanner.com)

William Hanson
Tutor, The English Manner

In Season: What To Wear

Two weeks ago, I commented on The Season in general. Now, as the start is less than a month away, here are a few dos and don’ts on dress codes to help you navigate this social juggernaut for some of the main events.

Chelsea Flower Show
Probably the most relaxed event in terms of dress code, and it is all in the entrance here.  Take the bus, tube or arrive by taxi, but be prepared to queue at the gates so arrive as early as you can.  Essentially, you are here to look at the flowers and gardens, and not on a fashion parade, so understated investment dressing is the key here:  depending on the weather go for light suits or dresses and jackets, and do remember a lot of walking is involved, so wear comfortable shoes.  If you are attending the private view then cocktail dress of course, but the men can get by all day in a crisp blazer and chinos with well-polished loafers.

Polo
Don’t, whatever you do, dress down.  Polo is probably the most high-profile of the season’s events, and attracts not only an international crowd but also seems to be a magnet for the celebrity crowd, from jet setting movie star to B-lister wannabee.  If the weather is good, team a pretty summer dress with the highest Jimmy Choos, or wear a chic trouser suit.  The latest designer sunglasses are a must-have – but do make sure that if you are invited into the Royal tea tent, you remove them out of the glare!  Men can get by with a blazer and well pressed trousers – the more one imitates the well-dressed smooth good looks of George Clooney, the better!

Royal Ascot
416_ascot_royal_416x300Morning suits and top hats are de-rigeur, as of course are the most fabulous hats.  Trousers for ladies are now permitted, but skirts must not be far above the knee, and if you are hoping to enter the Royal Enclosure you will need to apply for a sponsored badge many months in advance, with a reference from a member of the Royal Enclosure.  Top hats should always be black silk, and morning suits can be grey or black – my own preference is grey.  Ladies Day is the traditional one to ‘be seen’, when even the more conservative hat-wearer can really push the boat out.  A word of caution though:  if you are not used to wearing a hat, practice putting it on and off and wearing it around the house several times before the big day, and learn to relax – otherwise you will have severe neck strain and a bad headache before you go near the champagne!

Cowes
The cult brands of Jack Wills, Musto and Joules will be raking in the money this year as sailing appears to have taken off again – if it ever went out of fashion.  For spectators, stick to looking the part in deck shoes, sunglasses, windproof gear and a chance to wear that perfect Hermes headscarf – and there are plenty of wonderful wellies around if the weather is wet.  A plug here for the wonderful work of the RNLI – spare a thought for this entirely volunteer-led organisation which aims to raise some £131 million a year to maintain the fleet of rescue craft and on-shore lifeguards.  There is rarely a day when crews do not risk their lives to save others at sea so, if you are attending any sailing event this year, pop a coin into the nearest donation box;  you never know when you may need them!

Alexandra Messervy
Founder, The English Manner

What to Wear When Working

There has been much talk in the media recently about dress codes during office hours, particularly for ladies: are such stringent dress codes old fashioned and patronising? Or do our clothes say more about us than we may think?

An increasing number of international businesses are sending employees on courses to learn basic business etiquette and presentation skills.  The media has made much of this in recent days, highlighting the importance of dress for women in particular, and when interviewed on BBC Radio 2, columnist Amanda Platell remarked that she writes her newspaper column from her home in full business dress and lipstick to give her the appropriate ‘corporate’ persona.

windows_macWhat we wear, and how we wear it, can speak volumes. It is important to get the right look for the right occasion. Look at the advertisements for Apple computers, where they use anthropomorphise Apple and Windows computers. The former, whose machines are sleek, all in one and appeal mainly to a younger, more creative market, use a hip, young, trendy man, whereas the Windows character is a suited, balding man with a slight paunch. The juxtaposition instantly conveys two very different images.

Having said that, we would not advocate that for work you based your style on the Apple man. It’s about getting a middle ground. A suit is timeless and can be worn by any generation. In business it is much better to dress more conservatively than you may do in your own time.

For the ladies, too much make up can allude to a lack of confidence – less is always more; skirts up to the nostrils are never appropriate: ideally, the hem should be just below the knee.

The English Manner are running a course on contemporary business skills in March, where dress-codes, presentation and much more will be covered. For more information, please click here.

William Hanson
Tutor, The English Manner


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